King's Dominion April 21, 2007

Associated parks:
None

Sunday, April 22, 2007 6:01 PM
I started my 2007 coaster season yesterday with a visit to Cedar Fair's Kings Dominion in Doswell, Virginia. This was my fourth visit to the park and first in two years.

I arrived after a three hour drive from Chapel Hill around 10:30, which was park opening time. My friend and I had decided to get Cedar Fair Maxx passes for use this summer around the country so that was the first order of business. After walking to the season pass place they directed us to the ticket booth, where we purchased our passes. There were employees watching the length of the lines and directing people, and the attendants were VERY friendly! We took our purchase receipt over and got our pass processed in...2 minutes! They took our picture that appears on the turnstyle computer screen and gave us our credit card type passes. Very efficient.

After getting our passes we went to the gate and lots of workers waved us to their turnsytles and into the park. They, along with the people at the metal detectors were were friendly and quick! No lines here (cough...Great Adventure...cough).

The weather was beautiful Saturday, not a cloud in the sky and temperatures in the 80s. Much better than last weekend when we cancelled our trip because of the awful storm system. Since I've done several full KD trip reports with coaster ratings, I'll just do some quick notes this time.

Shockwave - For some reason I always start the day with this...good luck maybe? I thought this was going down several years ago, but I am honestly glad it didn't. The line was short but guests seem to still like the ride, which looks good in its location. It was running decently and I rode twice. Two trains, quicker dispatches than I've seen in the past on this.

Drop Zone - This ride was really kicking ass yesterday. 4-second, stomach in your mouth falls. I rode six times in various locations. The line was always short and they occasionally only used half the seats. The crew messed around a little, but in this case it just seemed like they were having fun and it didn't effect the operations much. This was also damn cool at night, except the strobe lights could be a little less glaring. Paint soon.

Anaconda - I am a big Arrow fan so take that for what you will. I have always liked Anaconda and yesterday was no exception. I rode three times, two walk-ons in the morning in the front and back. They were running two trains but something must have happened and it was down to one with a long line later in the afternoon. I managed to sneak in a night ride when the line died down, though. Decent operations, Cedar Fair seatbelts, running pretty good.

Hurler - I've always thought the Hurlers were kind of "meh." This one was running okay, not too rough and some decent air. Not as good as it ran two years ago but not as bad as Carowinds's did that same year. One train op. with a 20 minute wait.

Grizzly - I like how this ride is well hidden in the woods. It is wild and much better than Great America's in California. It is pretty rough in spots, a certain section that was unbanked was fairly brutal, but fun none-the-less. One train op. with one employee loading. 30 minute wait with a crowded station.

Rebel Yell - This seemed to be racing everytime I wasn't on, go figure. Rode both sides, each running one train but a short wait. Backwards was smoother and had more airtime. They should work on the tracks right before the turnaround, there are some nice potholes. Frontwards jackhammered a lot.

Hypersonic XLC - This was down when we went by, but after a quick snack and some free water they were testing and opened up. We beat most of the line and were on back row in 15 minutes. Great launch as usual, but it's gotten kind of wobbly. This is a one-trick pony, so I understand why it's up for sale. Glad it's running now, but I won't be too upset if and when it's gone. Two train operation using the front half of the station. I assumed the magnetic brakes would give a more even stop, they didn't. It seems like they splashed some blue paint on this in places too.

Italian Job - This was my first time riding this one. I have always thought the IJ coasters were kind of tacky, and in person they aren't the prettiest things either. We had a short wait for back row. The launch was more powerful than expected and the helix was pretty sweet. I didn't realize how short the ride actually was. Overall, it's a good family ride with average theming. Two train operation, didn't see another in sight if there is one.

Tomb Raider: Firefall - Rode once, two flips forwards and four backwards. At night this looked amazing with copious amounts of fog spilling into the plaza and fire every once and a while.

Flight of Fear - I've always liked this, without the OTSRs, and I'm glad it didn't get removed. It was running a little rough today, but still very intense. This sounds weird, but the second ride was a lot smoother even though it felt like I was over a square wheel. 15 minute wait, two trains.

Volcano - I love this ride. I rode three times over the course of the day. The launch seemed more powerful than I remembered it and the trains FLEW through the rolls. I waited 45 minutes for a back row around 1, 30 for a back row around 8. The sunset was beautiful when we erupted from the top of the volcano.

My third ride has a bit of a story. We decided to ride in the front as our last ride of the day. We waited from about 9:30 and were next to go at about 9:55. As I was waiting for our train to approach I realized the one that had been dispatched never launched. To make a long story short, they ended up getting maintenance and evacuating the riders. They then did some work, reset the ride, tested and opened it again to no more than 30 people. All this was WELL after closing time (10pm). I would like to commend for the staff for caring enough to fix the ride and give the last riders a go even thought it was after closing time. I'm going to tell this to KD personally at some point. I enjoyed watching the control panel and seeing the block sections of the ride on the computer screen too.

The front row ride was amazing, launching into pure darkness was a great end to the day. I must also commend the crew on this ride for shooting trains all day at a frenzied pace.

Some notes:

I'm not sure what it is, but there were, for the lack of a better description, some ignorant people there yesterday. Lots of teens (I'm not one anymore so I can generalize :) ) cursing and yelling loudly. On Drop Zone a group yelled to friends in the plaza packed with families and kids using racial slang/expletives A very rude family in line for Volcano that tried to skip people because they didn't move up in line by accident. The ride before the Volcano break down, a guy in the front was harassing the operator. He was like "can I smoke on this ride?" "No, well shut up then." The operator was genius and just smiled and told the guy he could get him kicked off. That shut him up. There was also a drunk guy that was both nice-ish/funny and kind of a jerk during the issue on Volcano. He apparently comes often and knows the staff's name and told us he only rides Volcano. He kept telling everyone that he would not be leaving until he rode. He also kept telling the staff what to do, maintenace to turn off the tunnel lights, etc. Although he wasn't outright mean, this had to be VERY annoying to the staff at that hour. Not sure what his story is, but it was an interesting experience.

The park seemed to be dealing with this kind of crap pretty well. There was lots of security and I actually saw some of the cursing offendors being spoken to by two policemen. It's not the park's fault that some people act the way they do, and I appreciate the way they handled it for the most part.

The Good:

Friendly staff and courteous hosts

Maintenace that fixed Volcano after 10

Volcano and it's staff

Season Pass processing

Free water

Bathroom attendants and sweepers

It was nice to see people visibly supporting Virginia Tech, as I too am thinking about you guys.

Needs improvement:

1 train woodies - the second trains on all these were on the transfer tracks, so I don't know if this is a rehab issue or not.

Occasional tomfoolery - but I suppose we're all human and it was hot. Some staff was there all 12 hours so I'm not too upset about this.

Spruce up the entrance, it looks bland. Flowers?

Overall, a great visit to KD. I look forward to using my Maxx pass all summer and I am glad that I was able to go yesterday.

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Sunday, April 22, 2007 9:25 PM
Sounds Like You Had A Great Time!
It's wonderful to hear such positive trip reports regarding my home park. Kings Dominion is a true gem, offering something for everyone. I'm sure Dick and the rest of the Cedar Fair Big Wigs know and are aware of the possibilities of this park. Hundreds of acres are available for expansion, and the park sits rite on the main travel artery of the Eastern USA. The future is looking mighty bright for all the Cedar Fair Parks!!!

Make It An Unforgettabel Season! - Airromeo 2007

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Sunday, April 22, 2007 10:06 PM
I forgot my reccomendation for Kings Dominion in the future. Because many of their coasters are low to moderate capacity, they'd really benefit from a nice B&M hyper, three trains would be nice. Along with NOT being a launch coaster, the hyper would be a capacity monster and could be situated at the back of the park. Here's to dreaming.

*** Edited 4/23/2007 2:07:04 AM UTC by Willh51***

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Sunday, April 22, 2007 11:02 PM
Bulldoze Hurler and Hypersonic, and run a hyper all the way out to the edge of the property (which goes a long way, back to where the old safari used to go). And then add a new GCI woodie. Yeah.
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Sunday, April 22, 2007 11:56 PM
There's always talk about SF making the mistake about adding, adding, adding, and adding again to make things better. And we all know how that turned out.

How about they improve what they got already and go from there? Cedar Fair has a good track record when it comes to getting parks back on track (ie: Knott's, Dorney, MiA, Geauga Lake still getting worked on)

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Monday, April 23, 2007 11:30 AM
I like Arson's idea :)

Unfortunately, Kings Dominion has added too many lackluster, low-capacity coasters in recent years. While there are some exceptions in the lackluster dept. (Volcano, Flight of Fear, maybe even Italian Job), they just haven't made the best decisions when it comes to putting in coasters.

Sure, they have more wooden coasters and launched coasters than most other parks, but overall, their coaster arsenal isn't great. Aout the highest-capacity steel coaster they have is Anaconda. They run their wood coasters low-capacity, and they are fairly lackluster. The Hurler should definitely be the first of those to go, and the first steel to go should definitely be Hypersonic, which is almost a capacity nightmare. Here's how they seem to be running their coaster lately:

Anaconda: 2 28-passenger trains (max trains)
Shockwave: 2 24-passenger trains (max trains)
Hurler: 1 28-passenger train (-1 train)
Grizzly: 1 28-passenger train (-1 train)
Rebel Yell: 1 30-passenger train on each side (-1 train on each side)
Hypersonic: 2 8-passenger trains (-2 trains originally; -1 train currently?)
Flight of Fear: 2 20-passenger trains (-2 trains originally; -1 train currently?)
Volcano: 2 16-passenger trains (-1 train originally)
Avalanche: 2 14-passenger trains (-1 train originally)
Ghoster Coaster: 1 20-passenger train? (-1 train originally)
Italian Job: 2 12-passenger trains (-1 train)
Ricochet: ?

So, lately, they've been running most of their coasters at less than max capacity. Now I realize that they don't need to every day, but there are some days where it would be nice if at least Grizzly would have the second train.

Anyway, basically KD has a somewhat lackluster, lower capacity selection of coasters, and to make matters worse, most of what they do have, they don't run at capacity. At least getting a large B&M hyper could help with the lackluster problem, as well as the capacity problem (at least a little).

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Monday, April 23, 2007 12:58 PM
While I know Hypersonic has a third train that rotates, does Volcano actually have three? I know they lengthened the trains at some point, but I feel like running three would not increase capacity the way the station is designed. And rablat5, does FOF have four but can only run three at one time?
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Monday, April 23, 2007 2:36 PM
I was there on Sat. as well, and your description of the day mirrors mine completely. Perfect weather, friendly and accomodating staff (with the occasional minor shinanigans, as you mentioned), decent through-put on the rides, good security presence everywhere. We got our second ride on Volcano right after dusk, so we must have made it just before it broke down. That ride just gets better and better everytime I ride it... it's certainly my favorite at the park. I really wish more coasters existed with a secondary "boost" section like Volcano has, and I'm not sure why they don't. I realize it wasn't part of the original design, but it definitely makes the ride.

Anyway, a very well run park, and we had a great day as a result.

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Monday, April 23, 2007 4:30 PM
Wonderful to hear a good KD trip report. I practically grew up on the Rebel Yell and Grizzly, so I will always defend their collection of woodies (maybe not so much for Hurler), but I agree with the assessments here that they've made some questionable decisions on additions over the years.

But I think before CF goes crazy adding anything, I think it would be wise to spend some time giving some TLC to what's already there. Its a park that hasn't really lived up to its potential for many years, IMO, and it would be nice to see it rebound a little.

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Monday, April 23, 2007 4:50 PM

Airromeo4Ever said:
. Kings Dominion is a true gem, offering something for everyone. I'm sure Dick and the rest of the Cedar Fair Big Wigs know and are aware of the possibilities of this park. Hundreds of acres are available for expansion,

Although it was done by prev mgmt, i always found it odd that they chose to fill in the most scenic part of that park and put the waterpark there instead of using their expansion acreage.

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Monday, April 23, 2007 5:00 PM
FoF was originally designed to run 4 trains. They should have the blocking to do so. They could have 1 in the station, 1 in the mixing bowl, 1 on the brakes, and 1 at unload. They have the mid-course brake run, and the ending brake run should be long enough to accomodate 2 trains, plus one at the unload station.

Volcano was originally designed to run 3 trains. Volcano's trains were never lengthened. When the ride opened in 1998, they had a power issue, so they removed half the seats on each train. However, the trains were still the same length. They could totally run 3 trains on Volcano, as they can have 1 at load, 1 at unload, and 1 on the brakes at the end. The ride is so short, though, and they don't always run it extremely efficiently, so this negates the 3rd train.

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Monday, April 23, 2007 5:35 PM
KD coaster run down

Steel:

Anaconda - delivered with 3 six car trains. could not run with three trains. took 2 cars from 3rd train and made the other 2 trains 7 cars each. I assume the remaining 3rd train cars were used for spare parts. currently runs with 2 trains.

FoF - not sure about a 4th train. I know it has run 3 trains during the summer weekends. Mostly runs with 2 trains during summer weekdays and most spring and fall weekends.

Volcano - equipped with 3 trains. since the ride malfunction last summer, the 3rd train was damaged and KD ran 2 train operation the rest of 2006 and so far in 2007. I don't know if the 3rd train has been repaired or replaced.

Avalanche bobsled - delivered with 5 trains with 6 cars each. it never ran with 5 trains. KD dismantled the 5th train and added one car to each of the other 4 trains making them 7 cars in length. Sometime in the early 90's there was an incident during ride testing that damaged 2 of the trains. KD was able to salvage enough good cars from those 2 damaged trains to re-build a 3rd train. this ride currently runs 3 trains (only 2 train operation so far this spring)

Shockwave - delivered and runs with 2 trains.

HSXLC - delivered with 5 trains (4 max on curcuit and one spare). I don't think KD ever ran more than 3 trains at one time. the trains have been replaced or modified 3-4 times since the ride opened, so I have no idea how many operational trains are left. Currently, runs 2 trains

Mouse - i believe was delivered with 8 trains and currently runs with 6.

All wood coasters were delivered with 2 trains and can run 2 trains. all have been one train operations so far this season.

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Monday, April 23, 2007 5:39 PM
sorry, I left out IJST. I think it came with 3 trains. I have only seen 2 trains in the ride area so far this season. I don't know where the 3rd is located as it is not on the transfer track
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Monday, April 23, 2007 5:48 PM
Wow--I had no idea that Anaconda came with three trains. Makes sense to only run 2, though, since the course is so short, anyway.

FoF was designed to run 4. I'm not sure how many it came with, and I'm not sure if it ever ran with all 4.

It's an infrequent thing for me to see Volcano run with all three, even before it was damaged.

That's intesting about Avalanche having that many trains, as well.

It's a shame about Hypersonic. They only run half the trains it can run, and they only seem to run half the station, as well. The capacity is terrible--2 XLC trains = 1 Volcano train, while 2 Volcano trains = 1 Batman: The Ride train. It's a shame that PKD has invested so much in low-capacity steel coasters.

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Monday, April 23, 2007 6:01 PM
yea, i believe the 3rd Anaconda train sat on the transfer track for part of the spring of the first season when it was opened. I can't remember if they re-worked the train lengths before daily operations began that year or if the modifications happened the following year. I keep thinking the 3rd train was removed by memorial day weekend and the other 2 trains were then 7 cars in length.

Avalanche did run 4 trains for a while. I believe KD lengthened the blocking on the ride. It used to be the train leaving the station would still have the last 2 cars in the station when the waiting train started advancing into the station loading area. The track was level in the station and the transfer area leading to the loading area. The trains could only advance if the advancing wheels pushed the train forward. I guess the insurance company did not like having parts of 2 trains in motion that close together.

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Monday, April 23, 2007 6:06 PM
Yea, I wouldn't know about Anaconda early on, since my first visit to PKD was in 1991 when Anaconda was new. I was still scared of loopers at that point.

I think they can still run Avalanche with 3 trains, but I haven't seen the 3rd train so far this season.

I don't know how Anaconda could safely run 3 trains, though. The final brake run isn't long enough for 2 trains, so if there was an emergency, the trains could crash. Unless the brake run IS long enough--I know it's not extremely long.

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Monday, April 23, 2007 6:24 PM
Funny you should mention that about anaconda being able to handle three trains as just this morning I was going over the block sections for the ride in my head.

There are four blocks total.They are:station,lift,MCBR,final brakerun so that should permit three train op but the most they've ever run is two.

Now someone said something about adding a hyper in the future.I'm wondering just how much land south of hurler/waterworks does the park own? There would seem to be enough land for a nice out & back to run in a west to east route that mirrors rebel yell,but another possibility would be to run a ride north from HS:XLC's spot up through the blue ridge tollway site & if they were to remove shockwave have it run through that area as well....just my .02.

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Monday, April 23, 2007 8:20 PM
^ While it has enough blocks to run three trains, here's what would have to happen: if the train in the station hadn't left by the time the train on the course came to the MCBR, it would pretty much have to come to a complete stop there until the next train left the station, since the ending brake run isn't long enough to hold 2 trains--unless I'm wrong about that.
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Tuesday, April 24, 2007 3:57 PM
^ I think you may be right on that however it would all have to come down to timing on the dispatch intervals & with the new belts being added that would definitely slow things down even more than before.
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